Jack Nicholson was one the most iconic actor of the ‘70s, with many of his biggest roles coming during that decade. Roman Polanski’s Chinatown is one of the best films ever made and it rived to be Nicholson’s defining role. Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest gave him the opportunity to really let loose. However, The Last Detail proved to be a turning point in his career. Despite successful jaunts in Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces, it was his performance in Hal Ashby’s film which proved to be pivotal for his future stardom.
After being caught stealing $40 from a charity box, Seaman Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) is sentenced to 8 years in naval prison. Signalman Billy ‘Badass’ Buddusky (Nicholson) and Gunner’s Mate Richard ‘Mule’ Mulhall (Otis Young) are assigned shore patrol detail to escort him there. With several days to spare, they decide to give the young sailor a big farewell, stopping off in several cities along the way.
Working with editor Robert C Jones, Hal Ashby made a deceptively deep and profoundly touching film with The Last Detail. There’s beautiful use of dissolve shots and framing, with the writing allows the pace to flow without any overly-dramatic or melodramatic jolts. The leads have a great chemistry, with Nicholson and Young, in particular, having some great scenes together. The Last Detail is a beautifully astute and thoughtful drama about three men finding camaraderie in an adverse situation.
• 4K restoration from the original negative
• Original mono audio
• Two presentations of the feature: the original, uncut theatrical version, and the world exclusive home video presentation of the 1976 TV syndication cut
• An Introduction by filmmaker Alexander Payne (2017, 5 mins)
• About a Trip (2017, 16 mins): an appreciation by Alexander Payne
• A Search for Truth (2017, 21 mins): an interview with editor Robert C. Jones
• An Interview with Michael Chapman (2004, 4 mins): the acclaimed director of photography discusses his work on The Last Detail
• Isolated score: experience Johnny Mandel’s original soundtrack music
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, available for both presentations of the feature
• Limited edition exclusive 28-page booklet with a new essay by Michael Pattison, and an examination of the 1976 TV cut
• UK Blu-ray premiere
• Limited Dual Format Edition of 5,000 copies
The Last Detail is released on Dual Format by Powerhouse Films as part of the Indicator Series on Monday.